The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Emerging challenges of hospitality hotspots

After a gap of eight years, the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) is organising its 39th annual convention in Calcutta. The conference, to be held at a city hotel from November 7 to 9, will be attended by leading lights of the hospitality industry from all over India, including owners and CEOs. They will discuss emerging challenges facing the hospitality industry.

The meet will be inaugurated by Union minister of tourism and culture Jagmohan and chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will be chief guest. While Jagmohan will spell out new initiatives for promotion of tourism over the next year, Bhattacharjee is expected to make certain significant announcements to boost tourism in West Bengal, in the presence of state tourism minister Dinesh Dakua.

Thomas Higgins, president and CEO, Best Western International of the US, will deliver the keynote address. He will highlight the emerging challenges facing the global hospitality industry and offer his views on strategies to meet these challenges and to achieve the desired growth.

“The convention will provide the opportunity to prospective entrepreneurs to invest in eastern India, including West Bengal, which will have a multiplier effect on the economy,” stressed FHRAI president S.K. Khullar.

The three-day hospitality summit will host two “significant” interactive sessions. The first will be held with the state and central tourism departments. The second, to foster better coordination among different segments of the industry, will feature representatives of the three sectors — hotels, travel agents and tour operators.

The presidents of the four major associations — FHRAI, Hotel Association of India (HAI), Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) — will form the panel for this session.

Keeping in mind the boom in restaurant business and the growing trend of eating out, FHRAI has organised a session on ‘Success factors for new restaurants’, with Cyrus Todiwala as the lead speaker.

The Hotels & Restaurants Association of Eastern India (HRAEI), along with its national parent body, have suggested various steps to the state government for effective development of this “high-yield industry” like creating “total tourism awareness” with integrated communication systems and strategy, proper infrastructure development and other basic amenities. An advisory council was also mooted for the development of tourism in West Bengal.

“We have also told the chief minister we are ready to create an international-standard hotel management institute in Calcutta to be run by the association, if the government provides us with the 8-10 acres of land needed for the venture. We will raise the issue again at the national convention,” said S.S. Kothari, president of HRAEI.

To be held alongside the convention, an exhibition — Hospitality India 2003 — will showcase various items connected with the hotels and restaurants industry, like kitchen equipment, cutlery, crockery, housekeeping and laundry equipment, furniture and electronic gadgets used in the industry.

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